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Until It Hurts: America's Obsession with Youth Sports and How It Harms Our Kids Hardcover – April 1, 2009


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Until It Hurts: America's Obsession with Youth Sports and How It Harms Our Kids + The Most Expensive Game in Town: The Rising Cost of Youth Sports and the Toll on Today's Families + Game On: The All-American Race to Make Champions of Our Children
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; First Edition edition (April 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807021180
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807021187
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Mark Hyman illustrates-through personal anecdotes and meticulous reporting-the transformative power of sports in the lives of young people. More important, he shows how adults are ruining the experience by turning youth sports into a high-pressure, big-money enterprise. When did kids' sports become more work than play? Until It Hurts provides the answer-and offers the solutions we've been looking for.—Joan Ryan, author of Little Girls in Pretty Boxes

"A hair-raising look at everything that is wrong with youth sports today. Every parent and every coach who has ever been involved in youth sports and cares about kids has an obligation to read it."—Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights

"It took a son's sore arm for Mark Hyman to recognize a hard truth: We're destroying youth sports, and maybe not even producing better athletes in the process. Until It Hurts is a sobering manifesto that should be required reading for every parent, coach, administrator, and referee. Though my daughter's U-7 soccer team doesn't know it, I've already implemented its smart, sensible, and long-overdue advice."—Stefan Fatsis, National Public Radio sports commentator and author of A Few Seconds of Panic and Word Freak

"As his teenaged son undergoes major surgery so he can pitch again, a sports dad examines the physical and emotional minefield of youth sports and comes up with ideas to make it family-friendlier. If you've got a young jock in the house, this book is more important than a private coach."—Robert Lipsyte, author of Raiders Night

"In this passionate and eye-opening book, Mark Hyman shows how helicopter parents, professionalized sports programs, and technological changes have produced a perfect storm-with our children's physical and mental well-being at the vortex."—Michael Kimmel, author of Manhood in America

"Hyman has authored a richly detailed, eye-opening look at an America hell-bent on turning our children into 'winners'-no matter the physical or emotional cost. Important, compelling, and painfully honest, Until It Hurts looks in all the right directions, including the mirror." —Armen Keteyian, Chief Investigative Correspondent, CBS News

About the Author

Mark Hyman (@sportsparents) is the author of The Most Expensive Game in Town: The Rising Cost of Youth Sports and the Toll on Today's Families and co-author with Dr. Robert Cantu of Concussions and Our Kids: America's Leading Expert on How to Protect Young Athletes and Keep Sports Safe. He teaches in the sports management program at George Washington University.
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More About the Author

I'm a longtime sports journalist and author. My recent writing examines the problematic state of youth sports and opens a much-needed discussion among parents, coaches, athletic trainers, recreation professionals and others. My books include:

Concussions and Our Kids: America's Leading Expert on How to Protect Young Athletes and Keep Sports Safe (2012), a collaboration with Robert Cantu, MD

The Most Expensive Game in Town: The Rising Cost of Youth Sports and the Toll on Today's Families (2012)

Until It Hurts: America's Obsession with Youth Sports and How It Harms Our Kids (2009).

My reporting and commentaries also have been published in national media. My articles have appeared in the New York Times, Sports Illustrated and Time.com. I've been a guest on "Fox and Friends," "Marketplace Money," "Only a Game," the "Dennis Prager Show" and National Public Radio. I also do public speaking and welcome your inquiries.

Since 2013, I have been teaching assistant professor of management at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. I teach in GW's nationally recognized sport management program and lead courses in sports law and sports media.

I'm a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Maryland School of Law. My current sports passion is running and I've reached 19 states in my quest to complete a marathon in all 50 states.

Customer Reviews

I am so grateful I read it and so is my son.
Mr Johnson
I can say that pickup games, backyard basketball, endless wiffleball games with other kids on my street, these are the best sports memories from my youth.
Joseph C. Sweeney
I needed this book to help me see what I was becoming as a parent of a child who loves to play sports.
That parent

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Joseph C. Sweeney on June 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having no children of my own, I recently attended a friend's child's Little League game, and was taken aback at the intensity and unhappiness of the whole experience: Coaches yelling at players constantly, parents yelling and agonizing about their kids, kids outright bawling following a strikeout. Wow. I thought sports was supposed to be fun.

My experiences with youth sports were largely similar. I can say that pickup games, backyard basketball, endless wiffleball games with other kids on my street, these are the best sports memories from my youth. Not organized games with annoying coaches and cloying parents.

This is an outstanding book that all parents, umpires, and coaches of young kids need to read and think about. Sports are supposed to be fun. Ask yourself this question: does my son or daughter actually enjoy and look forward to playing basketball, baseball, soccer, etc? If not, maybe they, and you, should look to put their energies in another direction.

Highly recommended.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By nobodyleaves on June 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Hyman pulls no punches, using himself and his son as an example of the way a parent's good intentions and a child's desire to play can go horribly wrong. Every parent who thinks their child is the next Michael Jordan, Mia Hamm, Tim Teebow, or A-Rod should be required to read this book before their child gets back on the field or court. Hyman convincingly lays out the case that youth sports have gone professional and frequently have more to do with the adults footing the bills than the children playing them. Touching on irresponsible coaches and parents, over-acheiving kids, doctors whose voices are ingnored by parents who "shop for a doc" until they get the answer they want, and blowing apart the myth that your child is going to get an athletic shcolarship or that having one actually pays for college, Hyman argues that we're out of control and then gives examples of youth sports the way they should be played...for FUN and character. The lowering of age in surgery statistics and the number of life-affecting overuse injuries will frighten you, the parents and coaches will make you ill. If you see yourself in these pages, it's not too late to change things. Highly recommended.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mr Johnson on November 29, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was suggested to me and a room full of board members of AYSO by our former Regional Commissioner. I ordered it the next day
was awakened to the myth that has been propagated by parents across America about why and how kids should participate in team sports.
My older son is a 14 year old athlete that has participated in variety of sports and has been yelled at by coaches and parents since he was
7 years old. I am not a sideline parent that coaches my kid, but have volunteered for many years in the programs. I asked him if he wanted
to keep playing and he said no. I told him he didn't have to any more and he looked more relieved than I have ever seen him. He ran a triathlon
at 13, played club soccer at 14 and has been on a competitive swim team and played football, basketball and soccer for his school.
This book reveals the underlying pressure that kids feel and what kids sports have become. I am so grateful I read it and so is my son.
Not sure what we're going to do on weekends any more, but it won't be at the expense of our son!!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 31, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book should be a mandated book to read for any youth coach in any league or division. I have suggested this book to many and believe it or not, some Dads who have read this have admitted to being on the negative side of what this book reveals. Some have said they felt "Guilty" because it exposed what they were guilty of doing. People with negative reviews I believe are "Guilty" ones, also.
He does have a new book out and I intend to purchase or recieve it for Father's Day. If you are involved in any way, shape or form in youth sports this is a MUST read. Let your kids be kids, they are not Mini-Professional Athletes. Their bodies are built differently than adults. They play sports to have fun in 98% of the cases and are not in it as an investment for future scholarships or pro careers. On the contrary, saturating them in this at such a young age does the complete opposite.
I have the Kindle version, but am going to purchase two used hardcover copies so I can lend one out and have another in my bookcase.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By That parent on April 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I needed this book to help me see what I was becoming as a parent of a child who loves to play sports. Wow, what a slap of reality in my face. Thanks Mr. Hyman for the perspective I believe all parents should strive for. This book will be in the forefront of my mind for the remainder of my bleacher sitting years.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's baseball season! I decided to read this story in hopes it would give some insight into the future for children who are currently playing baseball at a young age. It does indeed give stories about athletes who start young and what to watch out for by the way of coaches, injuries, pressure and fun. A decent book that gave some statistics about over use injuries. And some insight about what to look out for as your child goes through youth sports. Hopefully, this will provide some insight and a reminder about a more common sense approach parents and coaches should take when GUIDING their child through youth sports.
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